Real Traffic

It’s supposed to rain. You want more info, so you sit down at your computer and log onto weather.com, and what’s the first thing you see? Icons of storm clouds? A smiling sun graphic? How about a picture of an attractive woman staring up into the lens of a digital camera?

Of course, this woman has nothing to do with the weather. What she has everything to do with is a “pop-up” campaign from X10.com, a company that offers hardware and software products. Except that this campaign doesn’t use traditional banner ads. The pop-ups that appear when a user logs onto weather.com, for example, are Web pages–complete with URLs–that function as advertisements for X10.com. And every time pop-ups appear, they get counted as page views for the advertiser’s Web site. (If the ad comes from a third party server, such as DoubleClick, there is no URL on the ad and no page views can be recorded.)

According to a new report from Jupiter Media Metrix, sites such as eBay.com, Real.com Network and Colonize.com, in addition to X10.com, all benefited from similar pop-up or “pop-under” campaigns. (Pop-ups appear when you log onto a particular site; pop-unders appear when you close out of it.) These efforts boost page view numbers even though users themselves may have had little or no desire to visit the advertiser’s actual Web site. In the case of X10.com, 73 percent of its 28.6 million unique visitors in June left the site within 20 seconds.

For JMM’s part, the New York-based Internet research firm feels it has an obligation to report any and all page view numbers, regardless of how those numbers are achieved. In the report, Doug McFarland, president of Media Metrix, which is the online measurement division of Jupiter Media Metrix, said: “It is impossible to determine whether a user intended to visit a site that is also accessible through pop-up or pop-under pages. Truly objective audience measurement cannot be influenced by what a user may or may not have intended to do online.”

DATA POINTS:
–Separately, JMM reported the following:
Top newcomer sites for June–sites with a minimum of 500,000 unique users–include inspirational Web sites Reata.org and Quickinspirations.com; gifts sites Nabiscogifts.com, Ebaystores.com and Gifts.com; and consumer packaged goods sites Headandshoulders.com, Directvdsl.com and Getsmartcard.com.

Source: Jupiter Media Metrix